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To most people, making wine seems like something to be left to the professionals in California or Italy, but it’s almost as easy baking a cake! The process may take a while, but the steps are easy to follow and the supplies are cheap and can be found at a local hobby store or even easier on Amazon. The whole process can be condensed into three steps:
- Make the juice (or buy pre purchased concentrate).
- Add sugar water to juice.
- Add yeast.
After that, all you have to do is wait for the yeast to eat up all the extra sugar and produce that beautiful alcohol. You can find endless ideas, tips, and recipes around the web, but I’ll include some of my personal recipes which are easy and delicious!
What You Need
- A 1-gallon glass jug with lid,
- a brewer’s air lock a funnel, and
- a hydrometer.
An Easy Hard Apple Cider Recipe
First you’ll need a half gallon of apple cider (get the good stuff because that makes the final product so much better). Heat up the cider just enough to kill off any bacteria that would mess with the process. Then you’re going to pour the half gallon into your glass jug. After that, heat up some water and add about half a pound of sugar to while it warms. Allow the water to cool before pouring it into the jug. Once the mixture is cool, grab your hydrometer and a turkey baster to check that the potential alcohol by volume is around 12 percent. Write that number down, you’ll need it later! Add the yeast, then put the air lock onto the jug, and let it sit in a warm room for two to three weeks or until fermentation has stopped. Once complete, take another reading from the hydrometer, and subtract the final potential alcohol by volume from the initial to get the true alcohol content. Bottle your cider, put it in the fridge over night, and lastly, enjoy!
A Grape Wine Recipe
If you’re more into a traditional wine drinking, try this recipe. The reason I put the apple recipe first is because grapes are, well, a little less forgiving let’s say. For this I recommend juicing the grapes yourself for about a third of a gallon, using a can of grape concentrate to boost the flavor. Follow all the same steps as the apple cider, but with the new ingredients. This time give the wine three to four weeks to ferment then bottle. Once bottled, you’ll have to allow the wine to age for about one month, which is kind of a bummer, but it really does improve with age. Try to save one to open at two months and compare the difference, if you can let it go unopened for that long!
If I’ve managed to peak your interest, but think you need more help, you can always buy a pre-packaged wine kit. I highly recommend Brooklyn Brew Shop for kits. They give you everything you need to make your first batch. I actually used one of their kits to make my first batch of wine.